X-Files Season 11 (So Far...)
When I was fifteen years old, I was taking a shopping break with my big brother in the food court of the Miller Hill Mall in Duluth, MN. As I was choosing between a turkey sub or a pile of fries, a boy caught my attention. He was standing in line at Taco John’s, his hair vibrantly blonde, and his shirt, well, it had me transfixed. It was an X-Files shirt, and not just your average Mulder and Scully silhouettes shining their signature flashlights. It was a Lone Gunmen t-shirt, with the lovable side characters, Byers, Frohike, and Langley smiling on the back.
Despite my natural timidity with boys my age, I couldn’t help abandoning my brother, drawn to the boy waiting to order tacos. My obsession with the X-Files, was, and still is, a vital piece of my life.
“Excuse me.” I tapped the boy’s shoulder.
He turned, curious.
“I like your shirt.” My cheeks threatened to turn red.
“Thanks.” He smiled.
The blonde boy was pretty cute.
About two years later, I was introduced through a mutual friend to an 18 year old named Luke. He loved The X-Files as much as me! We had an instant connection, talking all evening at a party about our favorite show. Then, a memory surfaced.
“Wait a minute…were you the boy at Taco John’s? I told you I liked your Lone Gunmen shirt?”
“Yes!” Luke remembered it vividly. “That was me!”
We laughed. What a small world!
Two more years passed. That cute blonde boy got down on his knee, with an X-shaped engagement ring and quoted a sweet line from The X-Files when he asked me to marry him.
Luke and I have been married for fourteen years this May.
Our first son, Fox, was named after the FBI’s spookiest agent, Fox Mulder.
I tell you this story to make it clear, The X-Files is extremely important to me. It’s not a perfect show, it’s had its fair share of disasters, but it’s my favorite show.
Season 10 was not as good as I’d hoped. It had a frenetic, almost hurried energy, dared to split Mulder and Scully, and ended on an annoying cliffhanger. It had its highs though, culminating in “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster”. And at least it was better than the misfire that was the 2008 film I Want to Believe.
So, how am I feeling about season 11 so far? Ecstatic. Walking on air. Resplendent. ALL the happy face emojis. As Mulder announced in episode 3, our agents have come back to their “bread and butter”. “My Struggle III”, the first episode of the season, was admittedly a bumpy start, and let’s not even discuss that bombshell the Cigarette Smoking Man so casually dropped in our laps. (Looks like Maury’s going to have get involved with this complicated paternity). But the true gift show creator Chris Carter gave us was properly washing away that over the top cliffhanger and setting us back on the path we all want: Mulder’s feet propped on his desk, the iconic poster behind him as he waxes poetic on monsters and aliens. All while Scully rolls her eyes and shares her skepticisms with her signature mix of disbelief and giddy interest.
It’s really that simple. Because whatever drew us to The X-Files, whether it be the complex alien mythology or the memorable monsters of the week, what made us stay was Mulder and Scully. Their esoteric dialogue, on fire, with a chemistry that couldn’t be cooked up in a lab.
Episode 2, “Them”, a sort of Black Mirror treatise on the danger of technology brought the first real shot of nostalgia. Langley from beyond the grave! Mention of Deep Throat! Mulder in his true, delightful form of cheeky playfulness! Scully pretending to ignore him, yet loving it all! When it was over, Luke and I were grinning ear to ear as though we’d been dropped in the late 90’s and our teenaged selves had been given a top shelf season 6 episode with all the sides.
My expectations were high for episode 3, “Plus One”. I’m a horror girl, and from the previews it looked like I was going to get all the things I love: Mulder and Scully dropped into a peculiar, small town, some creepy fun, and maybe a few Mulderisms. Not only were my expectations met, I mean the guest star, Karin Konoval, is the actress who played the iconic Mama Peacock in the scariest X-Files episode, “Home”, but my shipper heart burst open and bled glitter. I am an original shipper. I hesitate to admit there is some Mulder and Scully fanfic with my name on it, languishing somewhere in a dark corner of the internet. So when IT happened, our Mulder and Scully were brought back together, the break-up called off, the pillow talk better than I’d ever hoped or imagined, well… I lost my mind. And in true X-Files form, their sexy time was punctuated with decapitation and psychically linked twins.
“The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” was a satisfyingly bizarre episode in the vein of writer Darin Morgan’s previous episodes (“Jose Chung’s From Outer Space”, “Humbug”). It played on the unreliability of memory, positing that there was actually a third member of our beloved duo, who was wiped from Mulder and Scully’s remembrances. It was meta to the max, making sure to make fun of Mulder in very much the same way as he was portrayed in “Jose Chung’s”.
Four episodes in, it seems Chris Carter and crew may have actually heard us. So far they are expertly balancing nostalgia, current events, the William mythology, and even hitting those shipper notes. What more could a girl, who had Mulder and Scully action figures on her wedding cake, ask for?